INTERVIEW WITH JÖRG BONER – B92

ART IS FREEDOM AND CHALLENGE

Jörg Boner is one of those creatives for whom form and design of a product are not the only important things; the vision about how to create the final product and how things can be set in a new concept, are equally important.

This is precisely what was shown at the GOODNIGHT MOON exhibition, displayed in the National Library of Serbia until June 10, as part of the 7th Belgrade Design Week, with kind support from Pro Helvetia.

The author of the exhibition, the new design superstar from Switzerland, Jörg Boner, was there in person to present this humorous and somewhat romantic juxtaposition of a lonely street lamp (UN by EWO) and a beautiful pink sofa (BHAIR by COR).

Jörg Boner comes to us from Zürich, where has been working as an independent designer since 2001. After studying product and interior design, at the venerable Schule für Gestaltung in Basel, he won many awards for projects designed for companies like Veuve Clicquot, Nestle, Wogg, Fontana Arte, ClassiCon, Nils Holger Moormann. As designer, author and lecturer at the école Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne, Boner’s approach embodies mobility, creativity and openness, which combined arguably render him one of the most important new contemporary designers in Europe. In his work, Boner successfully combines two opposite design trends: product design and communication design.

A clear concept and precise implementation with traditional materials bring Boner closer to the group of designers for whom modernism is still alive. His use of objects as tools for anecdote, memories and emotions, connects him with a generation of designers who find it easy to communicate with their users.

Before his arrival to Belgrade, we talked to Boner about art, inspiration and his work process.

How did you decide to accept BDW’s invitation and what do you expect from the festival and from the city itself?

“Already at first contact with BDW, who invited me to the festival, I understood that here somebody is doing something with a very honest proposition. It doesn’t feel like just another festival. It feels like more… we will see. I’m looking forward to BDW. I’m looking forward to meeting new persons with strong personalities doing some nice work, and last but not least to meet a few friends I meet only once a year normally.”

What can the audience expect to hear at your lecture?

“I guess to create products and to speak about design are two pairs of shoes. I’ll try with my lecture and the images I’ll show to stay as close as possible to the most interesting part of design: the creation.”

What made you become interested in art?

“It is a discipline close to design. But a lot of artists are showing much more radicalness than designers do in their profession. What I like in art and what I’m always fascinated by is the circumstance that the artist is working in a self-made context. He is completely free in a way. It is a kind of freedom, but also a challenge.”

What was your first project? How do you feel about it now?
“My first project was the “OLMA” shelf. It is a very sculptural object in fiberglass where you feel the late 90’s in its shape. But, honestly, today I can say that I’m still a little bit proud of it. It is still today a project where you can see and feel a sculptural impact in it.”

What was your first award?

“It was the “Swiss Federal design Award 1998″, a national Swiss design prize.”

How about your favorite award/recognition?

“It is definitely the “Grand Prix Design 2011″, the most important Swiss design prize, given by the Swiss government. The ‘Grand Prix Design’ was introduced by the Federal Office of Culture to honor established designers or design offices who have contributed to the advancement of Swiss design both nationally and internationally.”

What is your favorite project and why?

“I would say that for me the favorite project is always the current one, because you always try to do the best thing in the world. Later on you’ll understand that what you did wasn’t really the best thing in the world. Further on you have to give it another try. And so on…..”

Your favorite clients?

“Those with a rare mix of passion, craziness and a hard, serious, professional production and sales department. For the moment my favorites are EWO for street lights and COR for upholstered furniture.”

Do you have a signature method in designing?

“Trial and error is my way.”

Your inspiration?

“Inspiration comes from real life, because it has to move back into real life. But I find a lot of inspiration in my clients. I really appreciate to discuss a lot with them to understand better what we have to create. And in a way, perhaps it is stupid to say that, but the project itself contains a lot of inspiration. You do something, and you are capable to observe what the next step shall be, while doing it. For me, inspiration definitely comes from the work itself.”

Project you are currently working on?

“Currently we are working on a coffee machine, a new sofa and a new light collection.”

A selected number of people will have the opportunity to hear Jörg Boner on the first day of the creative conference entitled Freedom2. We asked him what freedom means to him.

“Freedom is a big word with a lot of meanings. The freedom I can feel, and for which I’m very thankful, is the freedom to live doing a job where pleasure and curiosity are the most important drives.”

Jörg Boner appreciates the sculptural aspect of design. He developed a work method that includes building cardboard models, as integral part of the design process. He creates drawings and patterns, handmade three-dimensional models, which are later reshaped and improved in the continuous process of handwork, until the precise design of a product is complete. What he strives for in every product is the balance between form and technology.

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Do not make the same mistake as I did when coming to BDW, by planning things too tight and efficient. But take time to enjoy it to the max. You will not regret it!”

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